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An X-rated doodle from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
09.10.2014
09:00 am

Topics:
Art
History
Queer
Sex

Tags:
Leonardo Da Vinci


 
Well, well, a pornographic doodle buried in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s a description (emphasis added):
 

Casual reminder that in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many notebooks containing innumerable artistic and scientific sketches and notes of incomprehensible important, there is a sketch of two penises with legs and tails walking towards a crudely drawn anus. The sketch was most likely done by Leonardo’s apprentice Salai, who was not only very likely one of Leonardo’s lovers, but who was also infamously mischievous. Better yet, the anus is literally labeled “Salai.” So either Salai drew these while Leonardo wasn’t looking just to annoy his boyfriend, or Leonardo himself put actual time and energy into drawing these. Either way, the human race is truly blessed to have made such a discovery. There are dick drawings like the ones you see on desks in school in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Please cherish this information.

 
For some background on Leonardo’s sexuality in general and his relationship with Salai in particular, there are few better sources than Ross King’s Leonardo and the Last Supper:
 

According to Lomazzo’s account, Leonardo’s passion for the beautiful Salai therefore reached its peak at about the time work began on The Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie.

In the fifteenth century, Florentines were so well-known for homosexuality that the German word for sodomite was Florenzer. By 1415 the sexual behavior of young Florentine men had caused the city fathers such concern that “desiring to eliminate a worse evil by means of a lesser one” they licensed two more public brothels to go with the one they had opened with similar aspirations a dozen years earlier. When these establishments failed to produce the desired results, and still “desiring to extirpate that vice of Sodom and Gomorrah, so contrary to nature,” the city fathers took further action. In 1432, a special authority, the Ufficiali di Notte e Conservatori dei Monasteri, or Officers of the Night and Preservers of Morality in the Monasteries, was formed to catch and prosecute sodomites. Over the next seven decades, more than ten thousand men were apprehended by this night watch.

-snip-

According to Vasari, Salai was “a very attractive youth of unusual grace and looks, with very beautiful hair which he wore curled in ringlets and which delighted his master.” Giacomo seems to have served as a model for Leonardo. No definitive image of him exists, but art historians refer to a distinctive face that appears repeatedly in his drawings—that of a beautiful youth with a Greek nose, a mass of curls and a dreamy pout—as a “Salai-type profile.”

-snip-

Leonardo was almost certainly homosexual by the standards of later centuries. Freud was no doubt correct when he stated that it was doubtful whether Leonardo ever embraced a woman in passion. Two years after the Saltarelli affair, Leonardo wrote a partially legible declaration in his notebook: “Fioravante di Domenico at Florence is my most beloved friend, as though he were my….” A nineteenth-century editor of Leonardo’s writings hopefully filled in “brother,” but the relationship may well have been more intimate.

 

Here’s a brief video of King discussing Leonardo’s homosexuality:
 

 
via Tumbling down tumbling down…; quoted text seems to have originated here
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Beatles play for 18 people in Aldershot, 1961
09.08.2014
01:27 pm

Topics:
Amusing
History
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Aldershot


 
Photos of the 18 damned lucky buggers who got to see The Beatles play at the Palais Ballroom, Aldershot, on December 9th, 1961. The Beatles’ then agent, Sam Leach, effed-up and didn’t advertise the show properly—hence the lousy turnout of less than two dozen people in attendance. Sam Leach was replaced by Brian Epstein as their manager after the Aldershot disaster.

However, according to Beatles’ Source, Sam Leach didn’t screw up, but, “The local newspaper, Aldershot News, neglected to feature Sam Leach’s advertisement for the show.” If this is to be believed, you really can’t blame Leach.

Truth be told, they all look like they’re having a good time regardless of the poor turnout.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Kraftwerk’s 1975 BBC TV appearance: ‘The germinating moment for British dance music’
09.05.2014
08:11 am

Topics:
History
Music
Television

Tags:
Kraftwerk
BBC TV


 
The BBC science and technology show Tomorrow’s World ran for almost 40 years (and was affectionately parodied in Look Around You), but the bit of that show that concerns us here was just a hair longer than two minutes. It was a short glimpse at the seminal German band Kraftwerk, performing their song “Autobahn” in 1975, just before their ten year run of LPs from Radio-Activity through Electric Café completely changed the face of popular music, inspiring electronic dance/techno, hip-hop, and pretty much every form of post-punk rock music that used a synthesizer, making their classic lineup arguably as influential as Elvis. If only the BBC had known what was to come, they might have been persuaded to show more than just two minutes of the 22-minute song.
 

 
A few years ago, The Guardian made a rather bold claim about the snippet of footage, placing Kraftwerk’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it segment at NUMBER 1 in their series of 50 key events in the history of dance music! I actually find that assertion entirely plausible.

The germinating moment for British dance music occurred, strangely, in a 1975 edition of Tomorrow’s World, which featured four young Germans dressed like geography teachers, apparently playing camping stoves with wired-up knitting needles. This was Kraftwerk performing “Autobahn.”

“The sounds are created in their studio in Dusseldorf,” presenter Raymond Baxter explained, “then reprogrammed and then recreated onstage with the minimum of fuss.” Here was the entire electronic ethic in one TV clip: the rejection of rock’s fake spontaneity, the fastidious attention to detail, the Europhile slickness, the devotion to rhythm. It was sublime.

When Kraftwerk toured Britain later in 1975, David Bowie’s patronage ensured a long line of followers from OMD to Underworld. Not that everything they planned came to fruition. “Next year, Kraftwerk hope to eliminate the keyboard altogether,” Baxter told us, “and create jackets with electronic lapels that can be played by touch”. It could still happen.

 

 
Bonus! Enjoy this clip of Kraftwerk’s robot doubles, also on Tomorrow’s World, but from 1991.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Kraftwerk songs performed by string quartet
Kraftwerk sings ‘Pocket Calculator’ in Italian… and several other languages
‘Ralf and Florian’: the Kraftwerk sitcom
Newly unearthed footage of Kraftwerk—with long hair and leather jackets! Live 1970

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Wish you were here?’: Unbelievably boring British postcards from the sixties and seventies
09.04.2014
06:08 am

Topics:
Amusing
History

Tags:
Postcards

greetingsfromharrogate1
 
I still send postcards to friends and relatives and those who are young-at-heart and find enjoyment in receiving a missive from some far-off locale. Indeed, I still write letters, but find my correspondents dwindling as the preference for thumbed messages grows. When sending postcards, I have a tendency to choose those that best capture the visited town or city from some previous decade, where the images look like stills from 1950s feature films—overly colored with azure blue skies, hot pink flowers and lime green lawns. Of course, these postcards can often be of the most boring and mundane things—a roundabout, the civic Christmas lights, a multi-story car park, a shopping mall, a newly opened motorway.

Like this little bundle of postcards, which could have been the kind of thing J. G. Ballard might have enjoyed, or at least one of his characters might have sent from a high rise in London, or an airport hotel, or a shopping mall on the M25 to some scar-worn lover. The postcards show what was once considered important, beautiful, or worthy of civic pride: the bus station, the flyover, the interchange, the mall. While the pictures tell one story, it would be interesting to know what was written on the other side—maybe something like “Glad you’re not here?”
 
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Before the London Dockland’s Light Railway.
 
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Bolton, Town Center.
 
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Broxbourne, Civic Hall.
 
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Central Clock Tower, and Tunnel Fly-overs, Birkenhead.
 
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Chapel High Shopping Center, Brentwood.
 
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East Kilbride Shopping Center, Scotland.
 
More postcards from the edge, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Street Gangs of East LA: Retro educational film from the 1970s
09.03.2014
08:35 am

Topics:
Crime
History

Tags:
gangs
East L.A.
Charles Cahill

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Street Gangs: Challenge for Law Enforcement is one of the many films produced by Charles Cahill (and Associates) for educational use during the late 1950s and early 1970s. Usually Cahill’s films had such uninspiring titles as Safety Through Seat Belts (1959), Safety Belt for Susie (1962), Highball Highway (1963) and Safety Rules for Schools (1967) and presented similarly uninspiring content.

Street Gangs, however, has considerable cultural and social interest mainly down to the interviews with young East Los Angeles gang members from sometime in the 1970s, who talk about their involvement in gangs, their codes, tattoos, and use of weaponry.  This documentary was found by GuildfordGhost, who purchased a 16mm reel of the film and uploaded it to YouTube.
 

 

 
Via Voices of East Anglia

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Moving 1960s short interviews the ‘Bowery Bums’ of old New York
08.28.2014
01:34 pm

Topics:
Class War
History

Tags:
1960s
NYC
homelessness


 
Despite former Mayor Giuliani’s highly successful war on the homeless, the destitute faces of “Old New York” remain some of our most recognizable mascots. One of the misconceptions about present-day NYC is that the streets are now “scrubbed” of the homeless, but nothing could be further from the truth. The post-Giuliani policing of the poor was however, an unmitigated success when it came to dispersing indigent bodies—in other words, busting up homeless communities. Simply put, it’s not illegal to die in the street, it’s just illegal to fraternize with your fellow undesirables.

The video below, shot in 1960 and 1961, doesn’t dig deep—it doesn’t have to. Men are quick and open about their lives. The tragically predictable culprits of addiction, prison, disability and the lack of work brought them to the Bowery, and they’re rightfully resentful of their grim sanctuary. Still, it’s an odd thing to be wistful for a time when the homeless were at least able to commiserate fraternally in New York City. Like the gentlemen say, “misery loves company.”
 

 
Via Bowery Boogie

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Lose your mind and play’ Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd ‘live’ on TOTP, 1967


 
I type this as someone who has (perhaps obsessively) gone out of his way—for decades now—acquiring Pink Floyd bootlegs. I couldn’t get enough of them, always trading up in quality if possible. There was always an endless supply of them, with “new” ones popping up constantly. It was a disease like stamp collecting. I even paid a hundred bucks for one that I just had to have…

Since YouTube launched in 2005, of course, there’s been so much additional Pink Floyd goodness making its way to the public—an avalanche really—which is the only way to explain how THIS ONE got past me in the Floydian deluge… I’d read a few years ago that the British Film Institute had located tapes of two of Pink Floyd’s three Top of the Pops appearances in the summer of 1967 and that the quality was a little ropey. I promptly forget about it, but that footage turned up on YouTube about a year ago, even if I just saw it myself this morning.

True the quality isn’t great—only one of the tapes was watchable apparently—but who’s going to complain about catching a rare glimpse of a still functional Syd Barrett fronting Pink Floyd on TOTP in 1967??? Before this video was located, practically the only documentation of the group’s trio of appearances on the program was the color shot used on the Syd Barrett bootleg “Unforgotten Hero” as seen above.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Germaine Greer vs. Diane Arbus: ‘If she had been a man, I’d have kicked her in the balls’

darbgre55.jpg
 
Though Diane Arbus was famed for her photographs of “deviant and marginal” people “whose normality seems ugly or surreal,” she did not want to be thought solely as a photographer of freaks. This in part may explain why Arbus accepted a commission to take a portrait photograph of Germaine Greer for the publication New Woman. Unless, of course, the magazine’s editors thought there was something freakish about the Antipodean academic, journalist and feminist?

On a hot summer’s day in 1971, Arbus arrived to photograph Greer at the Chelsea Hotel. Greer was on tour with her book The Female Eunuch and had most recently taken part in an infamous head-to-head with Norman Mailer at New York City’s Town Hall. Seeing the diminutive photographer was overly laden with equipment, Greer helped Arbus up to her hotel suite.

Greer may have been showing consideration to the photographer, but the session soon turned into a battle of wills as Arbus ordered the Greer around the room, telling her to lie on the bed, and then straddling her as she snapped away. Greer later related meeting with Arbus to the photographer’s biographer Patricia Bosworth:

It developed into a sort of duel between us, because I resisted being photographed like that—close up with all my pores and lines showing!! She kept asking me all sorts of personal questions, and I became aware that she would only shoot when my face was showing tension or concern or boredom or annoyance (and there was plenty of that, let me tell you), but because she was a woman I didn’t tell her to fuck off. If she had been a man, I’d have kicked her in the balls.

Unable to deliver a telling kick, Greer opted not to co-operate.

‘I decided “Damn it, you’re not going to do this to me, lady. I’m not going to be photographed like one of your grotesque freaks!”  So I stiffened my face like a mask.

Greer would later claim the duel with Arbus as a draw, but as Howard Sounes noted in his superlative cultural biography of the Seventies:

The editors at New Woman evidently thought Greer vs. Arbus had resulted in defeat for the photographer, for her pictures were never used in the magazine. In a letter to [her husband] Allan, Diane discussed her attitude to the shoot, perhaps revealing her approach to her subjects generally. She wrote that she had liked Germaine Greer personally, considering her to be ‘fun and terrific looking…’ Nevertheless she went out of her way to depict her in an unflattering light. As she said, ‘I managed to managed to make otherwise.’

The picture from the session, printed posthumously as ‘Feminist in her hotel room, NYC, 1971’, is in fact fascinating, not least because in close-up, Greer’s neatly plucked and re-applied eyebrows more than a passing resemblance to the transvestite in curlers Arbus photographed back in 1966.

Arbus was not best suited to working as a freelance photographer—the hours spent pitching ideas that often came to nothing, or struggling to earn agreed fees from indifferent publishing houses to maintain her independence, caused her deep depression. Taking fashionable portraits of celebrity figures was hardly the work for an artist photographer who believed:

A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.

 
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Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Soviet posters warn soldiers and civilians not to leak state secrets
08.27.2014
01:06 pm

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
Soviet propaganda


“In a letter home, look, you do not accidentally become loose military secrets.” (1954) Because in Soviet Russia, a gossip-goblin lay in wait at ever window, hoping to disseminate classified information from soldier’s correspondence.
 
Calls for civic discretion during wartime have always been a rich source of propaganda. “Loose lips sink ships” is the classic American slogan, and the British “Keep mum,” feels appropriately prissy for our allies across the pond. I recently learned that the Swedes promoted the punny “en svensk tiger” during World War 2 (“tiger” meaning both “tiger” and “silent”), but no one quite does discipline like the Germans, who went with, “Schäm Dich, Schwätzer!” meaning “Shame on you, blabbermouth!”

My theory is that these axioms are intended more to foster xenophobia and suspicion than the protect actual state secrets. Most rank-and-file military don’t even have access to sensitive information. Even in the field, their communications are heavily monitored and most soldiers are kept on a need-to-know basis, so the likelihood of soldiers leaking even so much as a location is very low. As for civilians, well, I’ve never had access to anything “sensitive”—but perhaps my garrulous reputation precedes me? 
 

“Do not talk! Strictly keep the military and state secrets” (1958)
 

“Be watchful and vigilant!” (1951)
 
More Soviet posters after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Bogie and Bacall’s forgotten radio drama
08.20.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Lauren Bacall
Humphrey Bogart


Promotional standee for Bold Venture sponsored by Genesee Beer, 1951.

When the great Lauren Bacall died recently at 89, her obituaries routinely mentioned her relationship with Humphrey Bogart, and their onscreen chemistry in the four classic films they made together.

Less widely known, and rarely mentioned however, is Bold Venture, the radio show they starred in together in 1951-1952. Bogart and Bacall played the owners of a hotel in Cuba and a boat called the Bold Venture, romantically sparring while getting mixed up with smugglers, spies, con men and corrupt cops “in the sultry settings of tropical Havana and the mysterious islands of the Caribbean.” If the writing isn’t quite To Have and Have Not, it delivers enough sharp wit to keep the couple’s classic chemistry alive and enough tension to keep the drama moving.

57 half-hour episodes have surfaced and they’re available to listen to and download for free at archive.org. If you’ve ever wished Bogie & Bacall made more movies together, Bold Venture is the next best thing.
 

 

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall aboard their private yacht, Santana.

This is a guest post from Jason Toon of Seattle, Washington.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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